Sunday, November 6, 2022

The Price Was Right

This morning I dreamt I was a contestant on The Price is Right. Somehow there were a couple dozen contestants on the stage, seated in rows. The host was Anthony Fauci. As the show continued, contestants would just disappear, randomly. Seats would suddenly be empty. Worse, Fauci wouldn’t acknowledge it, and most of the people on stage didn't notice. A sense of growing unease, exchanging of glances under the heavy stage lighting.

It seemed to be early '70s. Fauci was in a tan leisure suit.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Last Pings

His phone pings on the bed next to him. It’s 2 a.m. and it hasn’t pinged in at least an hour. Odd really.

He finishes reading the page he’s on, puts down the book, and reluctantly reaches for the device. He activates the screen, enters his code, but before he can see what the ping was he’s asked for the 27th time if he wants to “finish setting up” his new iPhone. As he’s not given the choice “No, and don’t ask again” he has to click “Not Now”.

The message that caused the ping tells him the water reservoir on the dehumidifier in the other room is full. His old dehumidifier had a little yellow light that appeared on top when the water was full. He’d notice when entering the room and empty it. But that machine broke down weeks ago. He had to get a new one, and the new ones notify by message.

He decides to go empty the dehumidifier, because it’s humid in fact, it’s always humid. He knew this before taking the job in Houston, but yeah, he kind of didn't know it.

After emptying the dehumidifier, since he’s already at the bathroom sink, he figures he might as well brush his teeth and call it a night.

He reaches for his toothbrush, which at the last instant he remembers is a new toothbrush. He groans as he picks it up. Of course it has a safety casing around the bristles. The little screen lights up along the handle: “Activate your new Dentbright Toothbrush?” He clicks “Okay”. It instructs him to download the App. He trudges back to the bed and gets his phone, activates the screen, enters his code, clicks “Not Now” to finish setting up his new iPhone, then searches for

He downloads the App, and after entering his code again, he can open the App. He gives Dentbright his email, creates a password, opens his email for the verification code, then goes back to the App to enter the verification code. He clicks “Set Up New Toothbrush”, then scrolls down to find his model. He clicks the icon. The connection is suddenly bad so he scrambles over to the nearest window, stubbing his toe against a desk leg in the dark. The icon for his model activates, his phone slowly connects to his new Dentbright toothbrush, and the handle says “Unlock safety casing now?” He clicks “Okay”, the casing lock clicks open, and he takes off the casing and tosses it to the floor, putting his phone on the bathroom sink.

While he’s brushing his teeth the phone pings. He rinses his mouth, puts the toothbrush in his glass, picks up the phone, activates the screen, enters his code, clicks “Not Now” to finish setting up his new iPhone, gets to the message that caused the ping, which it turns out came from Dentbright: “How do you like your new Dentbright toothbrush?”

Since he’s not given the choice “Fuck off already” he clicks “Satisfied” and puts the phone back down on the bathroom sink.

Before finally going to bed he needs to piss, so he steps over to the toilet, which gives a little chirp and says “Welcome back!”

He stands for a few seconds in the dim light, the toilet now silent. He feels the coolness of the floor tiles passing into the soles of his bare feet. He relaxes his muscles and begins to piss. He’s tired in fact. He closes his eyes as the urine streams into the bowl.

In mid-piss his phone pings, causing his body to jerk slightly in irritation, the stream of piss now spraying past the edge of the toilet bowl onto the floor.

He groans and reaches for a handful of tissue. He starts to lean down to wipe up the small puddle when his phone pings again.

He stands up straight, tossing the tissue in the direction of the puddle. The tissue misses. He steps back to the sink, looks at himself in the mirror. He stands there. Looking. Then he grabs his new iPhone which has not been completely “set up” and bounces it sharply off the tile floor, splintering the screen into a spiderweb pattern. Picking up the phone, he tosses it into the toilet bowl. The toilet says “Flush now?” but he ignores it.

Stepping back to the sink, he grabs the new Dentbright toothbrush, twists it into an L-shape, and tosses it into the bowl with the phone. The toilet says “Flush now?”

He reaches behind the toilet, pulls loose the plastic casing and yanks out the wires that power it.

He strides back toward the bedroom, passing the dehumidifier. Then he stops, turns back to the dehumidifier, unplugs it, hoists it up, and smashes it against the wall. As the machine crashes to the floor he hears someone mutter in protest in the apartment next door.

He finally returns to his bed, clicks off the light, and lies in the dark, his heart racing. He thinks about his job, about Rachel. He thinks about how when he gets up in seven hours everything—yes, everything—is going to be different.

* * *

Check out Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Sea Changes

My few friends who care wonder what I’ve been writing recently. I’ve told them I’m in a fallow state, not writing much and with no plans.

“Oh, writer’s block,” they say.

“No, not really writer’s block. Waiting. It’s a matter of waiting.”

Which is to say that this state doesn’t really bother me. It’s part of my relation to writing and reading and life, and always has been.

What bothers me is something different. I’m again undergoing a slow sea change of sorts. My sense of what is actually happening in the world and how one might respond is shifting. Things I’ve written in recent years, some posted here, now seem skewed and irrelevant.

Anyone passionately digging will end up tunneling out in a place he didn’t expect, and his view will shift. It’s little surprise I’m again in a different place.

This would be the second sea change I’ve faced since my twenties. With the first I felt slightly that I was betraying my previous self. Now I’ll probably feel some of that, but betrayal is not really the point when one suddenly sees something new. When one is forced to by one’s honesty. The thing is to admit the change and begin walking from where one now stands.

I won’t explain further here. Perhaps in the writing to come.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Mark Dice: They Want to Ban the Bible

You walk about town, you shop, you chat a bit with someone in line. What you don’t know is these are the people you’re surrounded by, the masses of them. It’s horrifying.

I’d like to know percentages he got to sign. If he spent an hour at this and got as many as we see, of all ages, it’s grotesque. A population whose brains have been IV-fed from birth by TV.

For America, this will not end well. Honestly, it's already not ending well.

Check out Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Who is Viktor Orban?

Viktor Orban handily won re-election in Hungary last week and will begin serving his fourth term as prime minister. Rod Dreher does a good job summing up Orban's politics at The American Conservative:

--Orban believes that the West is a coherent civilization composed of a multitude of different peoples, united by a common religion. He thinks that civilization and its culture is worth defending. He believes that the best way to do so is to prize the sovereignty of its nations. He also believes that mass migration is a mortal threat to the existence of that civilization.

--Viktor Orban also believes that the religion of the Bible is true, and the basis of Western civilization. He believes that the traditional family is the bedrock of this and any civilization. Consequently, he believes that the state should be governed to help and defend the traditional family — not the interests of international capital, of liberal billionaires, of activist NGOs, or anybody else. He looks out across the West at what contemporary liberalism in power has done and is doing to civilization, and is determined to do everything he can to prevent his own country, Hungary, from falling into the same decadence.

--He recognizes that liberalism, as it has evolved in the West, has become its own solvent. This is the Patrick Deneen thesis, in Why Liberalism Failed: it failed because it succeeded so well in “liberating” the choosing individual from every unchosen obligation, and freeing him up to follow his desires. Yet Orban, who grew up under Communism, and who fought it as a student leader, has an acute appreciation of the totalitarian temptation inside contemporary liberalism. It’s no coincidence that his arch-opponent in Hungarian politics, former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, is a former Communist youth leader who became one of Hungary’s richest men in the 1990s and early 2000s, and who is on great terms with liberal leaders in the European Union.

--As an outsider who grew up in the country, he understands the power an unelected and unaccountable liberal elite controlling cultural institutions has over the direction of society — and is determined to use political power to keep liberal/progressive cultural power in check.

--He is a capitalist who understands that globalist capitalism is a threat to the integrity of the nation-state. This is why, in his first term, he worked hard to repatriate Hungarian industries that had been sold off to foreigners in the immediate aftermath of Communism. Orban understood that as long as Hungary’s main industries were in the hands of foreigners, the Hungarian people had less power over their own destiny.

In his piece, Dreher laments that our Republicans don't embrace something like Orban's vision. He writes that Gov. DeSantis gives him hope. I have some small hopes in DeSantis, but slim hope indeed in our GOP.

Here's the pol Orban defeated. One of the funniest tweets I've seen in a while:

Hillary. Inspired. Free from corruption. Glad Hungarians are laughing too.

Stay smart, my Hungarian friends. And God bless you.


Have some deadpan with your coffee. Check out Idiocy, Ltd. Dryest humor in the west.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Lefties: Why the NPC Meme doesn’t faze them

Mid-March Elon Musk rocked the Twitter styrofoam raft by posting a recent version of the NPC meme:

Myself I think it’s good to have Elon around: a national figure who says what he thinks rather than spreads wokisms.

And I like the NPC meme, though I find it toothless given where we're at. Since this is a serious article, I’ll explain myself via pro wrestling. Yup, serious. It's a post I saw today. Someone wrote:
Remember when everyone knew pro wrestling was fake and they finally admitted it and the fans continued to watch it anyway?

We’re almost there with politics and the media.
“We’re not almost there,” I replied. “We’re already there, and have been for years. Worse, this fakery is not a bug, but a feature.”

All around us fake news is known to be fake but is still aggressively touted as news. And oddly, it’s our “educated” who are most adamant about touting it. This didn’t use to be the case. I'm old enough to remember when it wasn't. So how did we get here?

I can answer that question. It's the universities, stupid.

In classrooms and seminars across the country, academics have for decades been teaching that “there is no truth, only narratives". I won’t go into the intellectual background of the doctrine. But starting in the 1980s, our left took it and ran with it.

"No truth, only narratives" has since trickled down and oozed beyond the campuses. It's seeped into every corner of American culture. And it's changed the way Americans process reality. As follows: A huge swath of the citizenry now watches news not to find out what is really happening, but only to find out what Today's Narrative is. For millions, what is really happening is tacitly assumed to be irrelevant.

It’s hard for a lot of us on the right to really grasp this. But we need to grasp it, because this is the country we live in.

We call them NPCs and think they're dumb sheep--but by doing so we ignore what they're about. Because for them, to be sheep, sheep out to trample all others into silence, is the very meaning of being educated. It’s what their whole education has taught them to do and what all their peers do 24/7.

Which is what makes the NPC meme toothless. At least to them. Because it’s not that our NPCs are especially dumb, but rather that they're deeply indifferent to the facts underlying the social realities in question. They are entirely creatures of the Narrative, they know they are, and they're even proud to be so because they assume the Narrative tends to "the right side of history”.

This latter idea of the "right side of history" is perhaps the only Truth our lefties still subscribe to: they believe in Progress religiously.

And here, if you’re paying attention, you’ll maybe see that we’ve caught them in deep self-contradiction, because the claim that progress is inevitable, that it’s somehow built in to history, is a truth claim. Here, in other words, is where our lefties truly are dumb.

But good luck trying to get that point across. The Enlightenment myth of progress is so deeply embedded in the modern world that almost no one recognizes it as a myth. Especially not our lefties, who breathe it through their cloth masks as their very air.

We've now tens of millions of these people. They're scaling the ladders in every corporation and instution. Since the point for them is to enact the Narrative, calling them NPCs carries no sting. As you may have noticed. They'll just bleat at you--Baaahhh--and move on. Because as they see it, it’s you who are backward to stick to that outmoded concept: truth. To stick to things like facts, constitutions, law, transparent elections.

This is also, by the way, why it’s become impossible to debate our leftists, as you also may have noticed. If there’s no truth, and if it’s virtuous to believe there isn’t, what weight will be given to “evidence” or “reasoned debate” or “analysis” or “statistics”? Our lefties officially don’t care about such things. Debating them is wasted time, and has been since about 2010. They won’t recognize defeat, because they never recognized the validity of reasoned argument to begin with.

So if our politics and media now seem to have no more reality than pro wrestling, and if the mainstream “virtuous” voices keep cheering ever louder, you can blame our fallen universities. They made it possible. And the triumphal march of that key claim "there is no truth" was made all the easier because it played off the Deadly Sin called sloth. Anyone who spends time around our academies can attest this: laziness has played an enormous role in our cognitive decline. Because whether you're an academic or a student, it’s much easier to enact narratives than to seek truth. It’s also much easier to bend to the Narrative than to defend any truth that is unpopular. And since the postmodernism that rules our universities gives our lefties “intellectual” cover for being lazy in just this way, why not just go with it? All the kids at the cool table are.

Calling them NPCs is accurate, sure. But the malaise runs deeper than just dumbness + conformity. It derives from a systemic discrediting of truth in favor of narrative. How we might proceed is a more difficult question, but that we’re dealing with a large and now dominant “post-truth” culture is a brutal fact we have to face. I'd say the best use of our energies is in building an alternative education system, whether through homeschooling or classical schools.

More on how we got here:

The Left is a Religion

Fakes upon Fakes: Why the Left has Become so Completely Daft

Monday, February 28, 2022

The Left is a Religion

Most think of our western Left as a political movement. I see it as a religion. For tens of millions of Americans, it’s the faith they’ve taken up to replace Christianity, a new pseudo-religion that’s evolved to fill the God-shaped hole in America’s soul. To effect this mass apostasy, the Left co-opted structures from Christianity, warping and perverting them.


1) It has its redemptive martyrs, its eternal victims--with the added bonus that this time millions gain automatic "victim" status without doing a thing. They just have to be born a minority or identify as LGBT. Or even, given radical feminism, just be female.

2) It has an eschatology* that Marx and his forebears hijacked from biblical religion and which has been inserted as First Principle into all the left's sub-movements under the rubric "Progress!" History is understood as progressing toward an earthly utopia of diversity and unbounded sexual play. In a radical reversal of Christian teachings on male/female and chastity, it is the sexually disordered who are seen as closest to the sacred in this new religion, heralds of a coming age of pure kink devoid of responsibility or repercussion. The coming utopia will also be socialist in the old sense: "You will own nothing, and you will be happy," as a recent slogan puts it.

3) It has its rites, rituals, in-group symbols: the Protest Rally, the “Pride Parade”, “taking a knee”, the wearing of identifying clothes, and now even magic amulets (cf. those cloth squares on the faces in the photo above).

4) It has a Dark Realm it struggles against, which we could call: White Daddy. America's Founders, generals, political leaders, inventors, hardheaded businessmen--they did not forge and defend the new nation, making it the success it became, but rather infected it with the curse of their male whiteness, their white maleness. Curse is a religious rather than political concept. We see the peak of this hysteria in recent years in relation to the last president. Trump was loathed not because of his policies but merely because his look, speech manners, and gestures were all suggestive of the Left's archetypal evil: White Daddy. Trump’s very cheerfulness infuriated our leftists, being reminiscent of the businessman who has work to do and enjoys his work, or the father who doesn’t take seriously the political diatribes of his kid just home from college. “OK, honey, whatever you say. Pass the potatoes.” The opposition to Trump was less a political opposition than the visceral loathing of an archetype, a ritual howling against a tribal mask: White Daddy.

5) Finally, cementing its status as religion, the Left requires dogmatic belief in things that are not only unprovable, but radically counterintuitive. The more extreme the nonsensical belief and the louder it’s shouted, the more pious the believer shouting it. “MEN HAVE PERIODS TOO!” “Meat is RACIST!” “Speech is VIOLENCE!” etc. ad nauseum, all meant to signal that the leftist in question is both well-catechized in this month's new “revelation” and willing to defend it.

Whereas the Christian professes faith in certain difficult doctrines about Christ--that He is the incarnate Son, that He rose from the dead, that He is the Second Person of the Trinity--the leftist must profess belief in impossible miracles in our everyday reality: men can give birth; a majority white nation that twice elects a black president is also a “white supremacist” nation; the biological being that is not a person a few hours before birth becomes a person upon changing location, etc., etc.

That the Left is in fact a replacement religion, an ersatz religion drawing its power from our spiritual malaise, goes a long way to explaining why it is so hard to fight. For one, as many have noticed, reasoned debate is now useless against leftists. Why? To put it simply, because they have defined “reasoned debate” as characteristic of the culture of White Daddy, and will not lower themselves to such. Seriously.

Certainly the modern Right has elements of religion too: the Constitution as a nearly sacred document or the reverence for the flag come to mind. But these pale in comparison to what we now see on the Left.

The reason is simple: though many prominent figures on the Right are only nominally religious, the core cultural base of voters remains faithfully Christian. Still holding to the true faith, they needn’t sacralize politics. Believing in God and the redemption promised through His Son, they emphatically do not believe in salvation through politics. They know humanity is fallen, that evil will rear its head no matter what political arrangement is tried. They know sin cannot be legislated or reformed away. Thus they do not believe in grand promises of Progress here on earth.

This is why the Right is more likely to leave you alone to manage your life according to your own lights, while the Left is eager to micromanage everything you say or do. The Left, having put itself in charge of the Final Salvation of Humanity, must force you to get with the program for salvation to work. And as this salvation involves the whole of the social and material realms, no aspect of your life will be left unaffected. Notice the recent politicization of everything? This is because the left, being utopian, is totalizing by necessity, like previous totalitarian movements. It seeks to transform all aspects of social reality, from diet, to sexuality, to speech, to entertainment, to child raising, to anything you can name.

In brief, the Left is not content with human reality as it is; it cannot let human reality alone, because it can do better. This makes the Left toxic. It is toxic both to liberty and to all that is natural and set in humanity.

With the gross overreach shown during the COVID pandemic, with the increased awareness that our public schools are now little more than leftist boot camps, Americans are finally starting to realize just how controlling our Left has become. But how to fight it, now that it's seized so many insititions?

It's my view that the Left has gained such strong hold because we've neglected to call it out for what it is: a new religion, a mass cult that sees your life and your children's lives as raw material to be shaped according to its doctrines. Tens of millions of sane Americans are in dismay over what the Left is now getting away with. Pinning it down by openly naming it a fanatical cult that seeks to impose imagined realities on the rest of us might help these mostly silenced Americans find their voices. Once they recognize the Left as a mass cult, they will glimpse more effective ways of fighting back, starting with: "No, I'm not part of your religion, so I don't believe that doctrine."


[*Eschatology: that part of theology dealing with where the world is going, with End Times.]